From left to right: a woman in a hardhat working with a crowbar, then two men helping place a bridge component, finally three men on a paving device

Strategic Workforce Development Online Recordings & Presentations

Strategic Workforce Development is one of FHWA's seven initiatives promoted through the sixth round of the Every Day Counts (EDC) program. Key emphasis is made on developing new, innovative strategies to support qualified workers for highway construction projects. By strengthening this workforce, through applying lessons learned, new training tools, customizable marketing materials, state transportation agencies can help to foster the next generation of transportation workers.

FHWA's Center for Workforce Development has hosted several webinars about the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership (HCWP highlighting success stories and best practices.

Recordings

Recent webinars were held in November 2022, including representatives from Michigan, Connecticut, New England Laborers Training Academy, Texas, National Skills Coalition, Oregon, and the Pennsylvania representatives from the Pittsburgh region, including the Partner4Work and Builders Guild organizations.  A host of supportive services were highlighted that both educate and maintain their trainee's opportunities and availability to participate in the respective workforce development programs.

Other recordings and select presentations are available here and future webinar announcements will be located on the HCWP website.  Some examples of recent webinars and presentations are listed below.

Presentations

FHWA contacts for Strategic Workforce Development are Karen Bobo (Karen.Bobo@dot.gov) and Joe Conway (Joe.Conway@dot.gov).

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program

Strategic Workforce Development, an innovative initiative of the Every Day Counts Program, suggests the importance of fostering an environment and partnerships favorable to training programs, pre-apprenticeship programs, and support for women and minorities in the construction workforce, among other strategies. NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program promotes workforce development by supporting transportation-related community projects that engage youth and young adults in underserved communities. NJDOT partners with local government agencies, not-for-profits, community-based organizations and other entities with established youth programs to provide summer employment, as well as training and other supportive services, to the program participants working to improve gateway areas at state highways.

We interviewed Chrystal Section, Supervisor of the Non-Discrimination Programs Unit in the NJDOT’s Division of Civil Rights and Affirmative Action. The unit includes Title VI, Environmental Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act, Limited English Proficiency, and two special programs: the Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement program and the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI).

Q. The Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program has been operating since 1998. What prompted the start of the program?

Members of the Division of Civil Rights attended an AASHTO subcommittee conference on the program. Our division became very interested seeing that it would be beneficial to our youth and young adults in underserved communities. At the time, Civil Rights worked with NJDOT’s Adopt a Highway program to develop the Urban Gateway Enhancement Program.

Q. Is the NJDOT program affiliated with the NJ Department of Labor’s Youth Corps Program in New Jersey?

No. We do not work directly with the NJ Department of Labor Urban Youth Corps program. NJDOT implements the Urban Gateway Enhancement Program with the support of federal funding.

Q. What is your role with the program?

I am the project manager, and I work with the supervisors at the various agencies that are participating. I am responsible for outreach, the website presence including grant cycle announcement and application availability statewide, review of applications, award announcement letters, the kick-off meeting with all the funded organizations, ensuring recipients provide close-out documents for reimbursement, and providing the final project report to FHWA.

Q. How much funding is available to each applicant?

Up to $32,000 is available to each applicant organization.  At least 50 percent of the budget must be dedicated to the youth participants in earnings, training and supportive services. Teams are formed with approximately 6 to 10 youths. The funding also pays for the local supervisor, and equipment and supplies as needed.

Some of the applications request less than the grant cap, especially if the organization has participated previously and has purchased costly equipment already.

Q. What might be a typical hourly wage or stipend?

Participants are paid minimum wage, $15/hour, although some of the participating organizations have stipends, so they would pay them based on the stipend. The youths and young adults are not paid less than minimum wage. The participants work four to six hours per day for up to six to eight weeks during the summer.

Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.

Q. How do you get the word out about the program?

Our outreach includes sending letters to previous participants and mayors in underserved communities, and we send out a blast on all NJDOT social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and post the notice on the NJDOT website on the Civil Rights and Clean Up NJ webpages.

Q. How are participating organizations chosen?

We accept applications from any entity that fits the criteria set forth in the application. When I first started with the program, I worked primarily with Urban Enterprise Zones but the program has spread through word of mouth. We continue to focus on underserved communities. The applicants must have established youth programs. The goal of NJDOT’s program is to benefit youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 who are economically or socially disadvantaged and who have experienced barriers to employment (e.g., the lack of a high school diploma, homelessness, teen parenting, being physically or mentally challenged, or an ex-offender).  These program participants receive training while receiving a paycheck.  Depending on the project, they will have an opportunity to learn the basics of urban forestry, landscaping, fabrication and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements, horticulture, construction inspection and materials testing.

Applicants have included cities, youth corps, churches, school districts, and other not-for-profit community-based organizations. Each community organization provides the program’s structure and supervision and also provides life skills, and safety and technical skills training. For examples of grantees and projects, please see Table 1.

As previously noted, some former funding recipients apply in subsequent years, often to continue maintenance on the original project site.

Q. Can you describe the process once you have received the applications?

We receive 14 applications on average each year, and we can usually fund up to 12. A team of 11 NJDOT subject matter experts (SMEs) serve on the application scoring team. These individuals are from several areas including Civil Rights, Local Aid & Economic Development, Community Outreach, Landscape, Project Management, Statewide Planning, Capital Planning and Management, and Operations. Representatives from these departments volunteer their time to review and individually score the applications and then we discuss the scoring and make the awardee selections.

In their applications, the organizations can list up to three site locations and specify the type of projects they will be working on at each location. The projects must be located at gateways to state roadways and be sited on land owned by the State, as NJDOT does not have jurisdiction over county and municipal roadways. Clean-up, maintenance, on-going maintenance from previous projects, anti-graffiti initiatives, planting flowers and trees, and other landscaping are typical projects.

Scoring of the applications takes into consideration whether the project is feasible and provides meaningful and productive work for the participants. Skills training, including work skills, life skills, and safety skills training should be included. Ensuring a safe environment, including providing COVID 19 personal protective equipment and protocols during the pandemic, is also a consideration. Scorers also look for local support for the projects.

Q. Once projects are awarded, what’s next? Does the program leverage the expertise or capabilities of NJDOT employees? How do NJDOT employees get involved in teaching or mentoring in the program?

When we have our kick-off meeting there are representatives from NJDOT Operations and Landscape present to answer any questions. As the project moves forward, we provide technical support as needed, either by meeting with the teams at the project site or answering questions by phone.

Members of the committee visit the project sites during the summer to provide feedback on the great work participants are doing, and to answer questions they may have

Q. What are the benefits of the program?

There are numerous benefits to both NJDOT and the program participants. NJDOT benefits from the opportunity to partner with non-profit agencies and community-based organizations and local governments. The program also provides a prospective employee pool for the Department. The participants benefit from learning about transportation and jobs that are available in the field, and in some cases from the mentorship by NJDOT employees. The participants also gain a sense of ownership of the sites, of pride in their accomplishments and their community. They learn new skills, including life skills, while earning a pay check. This work experience, and employment services offered through the organization, can help them when applying for jobs in the future. The community benefits from an improvement project that beautifies gateway areas so they are inviting to residents and visitors, and from having citizens who are engaged and better equipped to find a job.

Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
Program participants may learn skills including the basics of landscaping, horticulture, and installation of streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.

Q. What are challenges of the program?

There are three main challenges: continued maintenance of the project sites, obtaining increased funding for the program, and closing out projects in a timely manner at the end of the year.

Ensuring that maintenance is continued for these projects depends on the participating community organizations, as maintenance is not a grant requirement although highly desired. Many recipients have strong relationships with the municipal Department of Public Works (DPW), which may accept responsibility for continued maintenance of the project sites. Others apply for additional funding to maintain the sites.

We would also welcome increased funding that would enable us to support more projects and open the program up to more organizations in the state.

Regarding program close-out requirements, this program is a reimbursement program. At the end of the project, the organizations have to submit payment vouchers and receipts. Delays in the process are common due to the other priorities of the organizations, but NJDOT’s ability to secure new funding from FHWA depends on the successful close-out of the year’s projects. Sometimes, we have to skip a year of the program due to late reporting. For example, we awarded grants in 2021 but skipped the 2022 cycle.

Q. Are there any program changes being discussed?

I have been managing the program independently for the past two years, but I now have two new staff members who are excited about the program. Now that they have joined me, I will have capacity to reach out and see what other states are doing with similar programs to gather lessons learned.

Q. Is there a workforce development component to the program? Are program participants encouraged to apply to NJDOT for employment in Operations or other divisions, bureaus or units?

Our goal is to not limit our investment in these individuals to only summer employment, but to also open the door to employment at NJDOT. In January 2022, we invited our partner organizations to a meeting to make them aware of the Highway Operations Technician (HOT) positions available in Operations. We worked with Human Resources and the Manager of Operations to discuss the way the HOT program works, and the application process at NJDOT. Although there were no promises made for hiring, the organizations could make their youth and young adult program participants aware of these existing job opportunities. NJDOT considers this outreach a continuing investment in the on-the-job training. We hope to hold other meetings in the future when these or similar positions are available – positions that require the skills these individuals have developed through the program. We are looking at this initiative as a component of our workforce development program.

Q. Do you have an example of what you would consider a successful project?

I will give you the example of a Trenton-based program operated by Isles, a non-profit organization, which has been a funding recipient for several years. Their work has focused on a variety of beautification and land management tasks, including installation of a TRENTON sign at Barlow Circle, and improvements at plaza gateways, at the Motor Vehicle Commission building, and at ARTWORKS.

Projects led by Isles, Inc. in Trenton serve as some of the examples of this successful program.
Projects led by Isles, Inc. in Trenton serve as some of the examples of this successful program.

When our team of committee members went out to meet with the program participants who worked on this project, these young people were a little resistant to engage with us at first. But when we toured the project sites together and they had the opportunity to explain their contributions and what they learned, you could see a positive change. They were proud of their accomplishments and happy to share that with us. They were not only earning money but learning skills, including how to prepare a resume and other life skills. It is truly meaningful when we as NJDOT employees have the chance to go out and meet with these young people and have an exchange where they can ask questions about the work we are doing, and we can build relationships.

You can always give funding, but it becomes so meaningful when you have the chance to spend half the day with these young men and women and find out about their work, interests and goals. Overall, it is a wonderful experience to oversee this program for NJDOT, to help make communities beautiful, and see lives positively changing from our efforts.

Grantee OrganizationMunicipalityCountyProject Locations
The Work GroupCity of CamdenCamden• Grassy triangle at Admiral Wilson Boulevard and Bank Street
• Exit 3 off 676 North at Morgan Street
City of East Orange Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training (MOET)  City of East OrangeEssex• Freeway Drive-East
• Freeway Drive-West
• North Oraton Parkway (Main Street overpass)
• Ampere Plaza- 4th Avenue
Groundwork ElizabethCity of ElizabethUnion• Kellogg Park
• Mattano Park
• McPherson Park
City of Long BranchCity of Long BranchMonmouth• Jackson Woods Park, Route 36
New Brunswick Board of Education/New Jersey Youth Corps of Middlesex CountyCity of New BrunswickMiddlesex• War Memorial Park, New Brunswick- Route 27- Lincoln Highway (Northbound) and Route 91 a spur of Route 1- Jersey Avenue (Southbound)
• Buccleuch Park, New Brunswick- County Road 527- Easton Avenue (Northbound) and New Jersey State Road Route 18 (Northbound)
• Recreation Park, New Brunswick- Route 171 Jersey Avenue (Northbound)
City of PassaicCity of PassaicPassaic• Madison Street, NJ Route 21 Exit
New Jersey Youth Corps of PatersonCity of PatersonPassaic• Route 80
• Route 20
• Various entrances or gateways to the City of Paterson, NJ
City of Perth AmboyCity of Perth AmboyMiddlesex• Route 35 (Convery Boulevard) and Route 184 (Pfeiffer Boulevard)
• South-West Corner of Smith Street Convery Boulevard (Route 35) and Riverview Drive
• Outer High Street and Route 440 Ramp
• NJ-184 (Lincoln Drive)
New Jersey Youth Corps of PhillipsburgTown of PhillipsburgWarren• NJ 122 (Alt 22) South Main Street 900 Block
• South Main Street (Union Square to Walters Park)
• US Rte. 22 and Roseberry Street (NW Corner)
New Jersey Youth Corps of Atlantic CountyCity of PleasantvilleAtlantic• Delilah Road and Franklin Avenue
Isles, Inc.City of TrentonMercer• Route 1/Perry Street. Interchange & adjacent Roberto Clemente Park- on/off ramp, strip between on-ramp and park
• Route 1/Market Street at Stockton/Mill Hill Park- on/off ramps, MVC building, planned Artwalk and “Trenton” landscaped sign
• Market Street Plaza- gateways that connect Route 1 with Mill Hill and Market Street/Broad Street intersection and corridor
Table 1: NJDOT Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program Grantees for 2021

Resources

NJDOT Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program
https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/community/cleanupnj/youth.shtm

NJ STIC 4th Quarter 2022 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened online for the 4th Quarter Meeting on December 14, 2022. The STIC Meeting Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the meeting. Participants could use the chat feature to offer comments or ask questions of the speakers during the online meeting.

Brandee Sullivan (Chapman), NJDOT Innovation Coordinator greeted the meeting participants, followed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks. He announced that the NJ STIC was awarded the FHWA STIC Excellence Award, for development of the STIC Communications Plan, creation of a full-time Innovation Coordinator position, and creation of a new core innovation area related to Organizational Improvement and Support. This is the second STIC Excellence Award received by NJ STIC.

FHWA EDC Innovation. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, noted that the EDC-7 cycle will be beginning in January 2023. She highlighted the seven initiatives that will be part of the next cycle: Nighttime Visibility for Safety; Next Generation TIM: Technology for Saving Lives; Integrating GHG Assessment and Reduction Targets in Transportation Planning; Enhancing Performance with Internally Cured Concrete (EPIC2); EPDs for Sustainable Project Delivery; Rethinking DBE in Design-Build; and Strategic Workforce Development. She noted that the FHWA EDC-7 Summit will be held from February 14-16, 2023 as a virtual event. The Summit will be followed by a NJ STIC Caucus on February 22, 2023.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders who provided updates of the status of EDC initiatives on the topics of Safety, Infrastructure Preservation, Mobility and Operations, and Organizational Improvement and Support.

There was a brief break during which meeting participants could take part in an online transportation trivia quiz on innovations promoted through the Every Day Counts Program since its inception.

Featured Presentation – Ultra High Performance Bridge Preservation.  Jess Mendenhall, Project Engineer, and Samer Rabie, Principal Engineer from NJDOT’s Structural Value Solutions Unit presented on the design, construction, and evaluation of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT.  The NJDOT Structural Value Solutions unit has been exploring the use of UHPC in bridge preservation and rehabilitation projects, an emerging application of UHPC in the United States. Bridge deck overlays were placed on four New Jersey bridges.

Mr. Mendenhall described the composition of the material and its superior mechanical and durability properties. He observed that the the advantages to using the material include preservation of bridge elements in good or fair condition and extension of the service life of bridge decks yielding potential life cycle cost savings. The disadvantages include the cost of the material, limited contractor experience with use of UHPC as an overlay, and the workability of the overlay mix. The cost of using UHPC tends to be higher than that of conventional overlay, and lower than replacement of the bridge deck.

Fully understanding the existing bridge condition and determining the remaining service life of primary structural components (i.e., the deck, superstructure and substructure) are crucial in choosing whether to proceed with deck preservation using UHPC overlay or conventional deck replacement and rehabilitation.  Mr. Mendenhall provided an illustrative example of how a life cycle cost analysis can help support the decision of preservation versus reconstruction of a bridge.

Mr. Mendenhall described the research process and criteria used for the selection of the four bridges, among other candidates, for advancement into design and construction for UHPC Bridge Deck overlay to permit testing of UHPC.  Eight candidate structures were fully evaluated and tested before the four bridge structures were advanced. In this stage, testing was performed on current deck conditions.  All structures included in the program were evaluated for suitability based on the structural evaluations, chloride content within the deck, feasible construction stages, traffic analysis results, and existing overlay depths. Chloride content was obtained from concrete core samples on each bridge deck.

The bridges that were ultimately selected varied in their age, size and design. All the bridges had asphalt overlay.  The selected bridges for the pilot program were in good condition to leverage the perceived long life-span of UHPC and not allow other factors to limit the potential service life.  Two of the bridges selected were less than 10 years old, and two bridges were 30-40 years old.

In the design phase, the finished bridge deck elevation was required to match the existing elevations. Various solutions were found for the four bridges including a thin overlay, a 1.5” overlay with an asphalt topping, and a 2.75”UHPC overlay with no asphalt topping. Design solutions avoided excessive UHPC overlay to control costs.

Mr. Mendenhall described the preferred surface conditions for the application of UHPC and the rationale for a hydrodemolition specification to remove the upper half inch of the existing deck surface. This process results in a roughened surface with exposed aggregate which is the ideal bonding surface for UHPC that limits microfractures that can affect bond performance compared to other technologies such as diamond grinding and milling.

During his presentation he also spoke about the staging of construction into two stages for all bridges, highlighting specifications and joint details to prevent water intrusion and provide structural continuity in the deck slab.  Exposed fiber finish was specified to promote bonding between stages of UHPC application to ensure an exposed aggregate finish suitable for UHPC application. He highlighted the need for full depth and reconstruction with UHPC to full depth at deck joints which can be susceptible to deterioration.

Samer Rabie discussed UHPC materials specifications and testing, specifications for construction processes, lessons learned, the evaluation process, and the focus of future assessments. He shared video examples of UHPC placement in the field and discussed design and construction special provisions, use of specialized equipment, mixing and application of UHPC, the importance of exposed fibers, the expertise required of the workforce and contractors, and proper curing and finishing, among other topics.

Several lessons learned were shared, including an expectation that NJDOT would seek in the scoping and concept development stage to identify project locations that could use UHPC as a final riding surface (rather than asphalt) to enable its evaluation, inspection and characterization for representative condition ratings for the future.  However, if an overlay is needed on top of UHPC for geometry or profile, the agency will consider BDWSC (Bridge Deck Waterproof Surface Course) or High Performance Thin Overlay materials.

To measure the existing conditions, the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) should be used to determine concrete cover, overlay thickness and reinforcement locations and to determine the causes of delamination.

Two special provision items will emphasize the use of surveys to inform depths of hydrodemolition and material qualities required for placement to ensure continuous operation and to specify watertight forms, top forms, minimum overfill, and surface grinding.

Mr. Rabie also outlined construction considerations and challenges in the application of UHPC and proper staging.  He described how UHPC slurry with no fibers was placed in air voids in response to surface defects before asphalt paving and emphasized that proper repair methods in contract documents should be defined to address aesthetic or structural anomalies.

Mr. Rabie also described in some detail the testing methods that have been used for annual evaluations for two bridges, including non-destructive impact echo testing and ultrasonic tomography, as well as physical sampling and lab testing. The ultrasonic tomography and impact echo testing indicated that the bond between UHPC and concrete substrate is sound and that the chloride content was within expectations.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Rabie observed that the baseline testing was successful, with no significant defects encountered. NJDOT is considering installing UHPC overlays on newly constructed decks as well as decks with lower condition ratings for future projects. A deeper overlay (with deeper existing deck removal) will be regarded as a viable alternative for structures that need a major deck rehabilitation. NJDOT is also incorporating UHPC for several applications in the new design manual, including P&R.  In future studies, the team will seek to better understand deterioration rates of UHPC.  The presenters also responded to questions related to the approximate service life of UHPC and its tensile capacity.

Reminders and Updates.

Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) announced that NJDOT received the 2022 America’s Transportation Award for Best Use of Technology and Innovation for the Implementation of Drivewyze on 647 miles of NJ’s Highways.

Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) provided reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

She reminded the attendees to save the dates for the FHWA EDC-7 National Summit and the NJ STIC Caucus. The EDC-7 Summit will be held from February 14-16, 2023 as a virtual event, featuring some states that have used the initiatives successfully, and an Innovation Showcase. The Summit will be followed by the NJ STIC Caucus on February 22, 2023 from 10:00am-12:00pm. During the Caucus, the NJ STIC will discuss the opportunities and barriers of the new initiatives and consider what initiatives New Jersey should pursue.

STIC Incentive Program funds are still available for 2022 and more funds will be available soon for the coming year. The FHWA offers these funds, as well as technical assistance, to support the costs of standardizing innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJ STIC receives $100,000 each year. Mrs. Sullivan (Chapman) asked that the STIC network members communicate these grant opportunities through their networks. Local public agencies are eligible to apply. Find more information, including examples of allowable activities and prior recipients, here.

Mr. Russo provided closing remarks.

A recording of the NJ STIC December 2022 meeting can be found here.

The Meeting Presentations can be found in its entirety here and or in sections below.

NJ STIC December 2022 Meeting Recording

Slide image reading: Welcome, Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner, NJDOT Planning, Multimodal & Grant AdministrationWelcome Remarks

Slide image reading: FHWA Updates, Helene Roberts, P.E., Innovation Coordinator & Performance Manager, FHWA, NJ Division OfficeFHWA EDC Innovation Updates

Slide image reading: CIA Team Safety NJDOT - Dan LiSanti, FHWA - Keith SkiltonCIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Feature Presentation: NJDOT Innovative Approach to Safety

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

Presentation: Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair is a model innovation in the sixth round of the FHWA’s Every Day Counts Program (EDC-6).  Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) is recognized as an innovative new material that can be used to extend the life of bridges. Its enhanced strength reduces the need for repairs, adding to the service life of a facility.    

NJDOT recently installed UHPC Bridge Deck overlays on four bridges in New Jersey. NJDOT engineers, Jess Mendenhall and Samer Rabie, explained the rationale for UHPC's installation and highlighted key lessons learned in bridge selection, existing conditions & testing, design, materials specifications, construction methods and evaluation during the NJ STIC 4th Quarter 2022 meeting.

Their recorded presentation, Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT, is viewable below.  Their presentation can be downloaded here or from the NJ STIC 4th Quarter Meeting page.

NJ STIC's UHPC Innovative Initiative page highlights the deployment progress and activities of the core team in seeking to advance UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair and contains other articles and resources.

 

How Collaborations Like NJCTII Advance Connected Vehicle Technology

Advancements in automobile technologies have prompted the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and other stakeholders across the nation and globe to explore the potential of Connected Vehicle systems. Connected Vehicle (CV) technology allows cars on the road to remotely communicate with surrounding digital systems, and react accordingly to ensure safety, operations and mobility benefits.

These communication networks are often divided into three broad concepts (1):

  • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V): CVs communicating with each other to alert riders or prevent potential collisions.
  • Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I): CVs communicating with road or city systems, such as stoplights, to orient and guide safer road navigation.
  • Vehicle to Everything (V2X): CVs communicating with potentially any accessible device, such as a pedestrian’s phone to prevent unsafe traffic interactions.
CVs can be integrated with array of digital systems to improve vehicle safety.  Source: MnDOT
CVs can be integrated with array of digital systems to improve vehicle safety. Source: MnDOT

Over several years, NJDOT has introduced several initiatives and participated in various CV-related working groups to evaluate the requirements for upgrading its digital infrastructure to support the successful deployment and integration of CV equipment into the existing NJDOT ITS architecture. From these evaluations, NJDOT determined that the best way to implement a real-world Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO) solution would be to establish a complete CV test-bed environment with pilot field locations. This determination led to NJDOT completing its New Jersey Connected Technology Integration and Implementation (NJCTII) project. NJDOT recently drafted a case study published by the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) that describes the lessons learned from the NJCTII initiative in advancing CV technologies (2).

TSMO Planning Strategies and Deployment

As part of the case study, NJDOT noted that a thorough planning and evaluation process was required to carry out the procurement, deployment and validation processes that could lead to the enhanced digital infrastructure hardware and software required for CV technologies. NJDOT described how its efforts followed the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) System Engineering Process, highlighting several key implementation steps:

  • Capability Maturity Matrix (CMM): A process tool that allowed the NJCTII to prioritize the proper actions and areas of emphasis throughout the NJCTII project.
  • Concept of Operations (ConOPS): A document that outlined the NJDOT’s current digital infrastructure and communications systems and identified the needs required to achieve statewide connectivity, CV data management and networking, procurement, and CV application deployment.
  • System Requirements Document (SRD): A document and a new process was created to evaluate deployment locations and determine needs for CV technology implementation, such as requirements for location selection, hardware selection, data flows security, and interoperability with existing NJDOT systems. NJDOT hosted or participated in several workshops to determine the overall system requirements of the digital infrastructure and CV technologies for successful deployment.
  • Solution Design Document (SDD): A document that utilized information from the SRD to design the digital infrastructure and CV systems for deployment at five pilot intersections, including wiring diagrams, networking, network equipment layout and field equipment installation.

Following this detailed TSMO implementation process, NJDOT was able to procure the hardware and software components required to complete a full CV system validation in a lab facility located at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) before conducting installation and field testing at pilot locations.

The laboratory testing and pilot implementation phases have involved a broad collaboration of government, academia, technology provider and engineering industry, stakeholders, among others. 
Source: NOCoE Report
The laboratory testing and pilot implementation phases have involved a broad collaboration of government, academia, technology provider and engineering industry, stakeholders, among others. Source: NOCoE Report

Outreach and Communications Lessons

The case study highlights the importance of outreach and communications processes that were conducted to coordinate with key stakeholders and other transportation agencies. These processes were used to determine the goals and needs for the CV system deployment on NJ’s roadway network and to consider the operational and safety issues that could be addressed through TSMO deployment strategies for CV systems. These activities included direct coordination with other transportation agencies within NJ, CV vendor and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), along with other departments within NJDOT.

Recognizing that there were many groups within NJ that were investigating CV technologies, but that they were working independent of each other, NJDOT and the NJCTII project team organized or participated in CV topic conferences, trainings, and laboratory demonstrations to disseminate knowledge of the emerging technology.  The team found that involving many stakeholders in the CV planning and development process was a useful means to improve knowledge-sharing among practitioners and organizations, avoid and minimize redundant breakthroughs, accelerate the output of R&D, and increase buy-in across organizations.

 

CV systems connect to variety of digital inputs and outputs to advance road safety controls beyond what a particular element could achieve in isolation.  Source: NJCTII Case Study Report
CV systems connect to variety of digital inputs and outputs to advance road safety controls beyond what a particular element could achieve in isolation. Source: NJCTII Case Study Report

Outcomes and Benefits

The case study highlights several notable outcomes and benefits.  One key benefit was that NJDOT successfully deployed and integrated CV technology for several purposes: Signaling, Phase and Timing (SpaT), Traveler Information Message (TIM), Basic Safety Message (BSM), Personal Safety Message (PSM) and MAP (i.e., messaging set to provide intersections) CV data.  The NJCTII team used a spiral based testing approach in the lab to validate the CV systems. NJDOT used the lessons learned from the lab to deploy a fully functional CV system at 5 pilot intersections.

Advancing Projects Through Pipeline

A pipeline of Smart and Connected Corridor projects, which use CV technology, are at various stages of planning, design and implementation in New Jersey demonstrating the fruits of the efforts to-date (3).  Earlier this year, the South Jersey Transportation Authority was awarded a $8.74 million grant for the Smart and Connected Atlantic City Expressway project (4). This project will utilize V2X and advanced intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technology to improve traffic safety and efficiency. The project is being funded via the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant, a program launched through the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill, that is also supporting the implementation of CV systems in at least 9 other ITS projects (4). Another notable ATCMTD recipient-project is Kentucky’s Wrong Way Driving and Integrated Safety Technology System (4), which further highlights the potential of CV and ITS systems to implement road safety controls.

With an estimated 42,000 American car crash fatalities in 2021 alone (6), CVs’ potential to save lives and reduce congestion-generating crashes warrants increased attention. Models of better cooperation and general understanding of CVs, such as NJCTII, will continue to accelerate the improvement of the technology. The NJCTII initiative offers some useful lessons for other state DOTs and organizations in its approaches to test bed and pilot field-testing; use of trainings and lab demonstrations and other events to educate staff and stakeholders on CV technologies; and the development and sharing of documents to advance technological know-how and implementation through planning, design, procurement and installation phases.

References

(1) United States Department of Transportation (2020, February 27). How Connected Vehicles Work. https://www.transportation.gov/research-and-technology/how-connected-vehicles-work#:~:text=The%20CV%20concept%20uses%20data,doing%20and%20identify%20potential%20hazards

(2) National Operations Center of Excellence (2022). New Jersey Connected Technology Integration and Implementation (NJCTII). https://transportationops.org/case-studies/new-jersey-connected-technology-integration-and-implementation-njctii

(3) Intelligent Transportation System of New Jersey (2021, April 21). NJDOT’s Smart and Connected Corridor Program. Presentation: https://docplayer.net/211213418-Njdot-s-smart-and-connected-corridor-program.html

(4) NJ Biz (2022, August 11). SJTA receives $8.7M grant for AC Expressway project. https://njbiz.com/sjta-receives-8-7m-grant-for-ac-expressway-project/

(5) U.S. Department of Transportation (2022, August 10). U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $5.14 Million for Safe Driving Technologies in Kentucky https://highways.dot.gov/newsroom/us-department-transportation-awards-514-million-safe-driving-technologies-kentucky

(6) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2022, May 17). Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/early-estimate-2021-traffic-fatalities

 

Additional CV, ITS, and Smart and Connected Corridor Resources

Minnesota Department of Transportation (2022). Connected and Automated Vehicles. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/automated/

DriveOhio (Accessed 2022, November 15). 33 Smart Mobility Corridor. https://drive.ohio.gov/programs/av-cv/33-smart-mobility-corridor

 

NJ STIC 3rd Quarter 2022 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened virtually for the 3rd Quarter Meeting on September 19, 2022. The NJ STIC Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the meeting. Participants could use the Microsoft Teams platform chat feature to offer comments or ask questions of the speakers during the online meeting.

Brandee Chapman, NJDOT Innovation Coordinator greeted the meeting participants, followed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks.

FHWA EDC Innovation. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, noted that there are three months remaining in EDC-6 and the EDC-7 cycle will begin in January 2023. She does not have information about the initiatives that will be part of the next cycle, but they should be announced soon. The EDC-7 Summit will likely be held in early December as a virtual event, featuring some states that have used the initiatives successfully, and will be followed by a NJ Caucus, where the NJ STIC will discuss the opportunities and barriers of the new initiatives and consider what initiatives New Jersey should pursue. The final reports for EDC-6 will be completed in January 2023.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders who provided updates of the status of EDC initiatives on the topics of Safety, Infrastructure Preservation, Mobility and Operations, and Organizational Improvement and Support.

There was a brief break during which meeting participants could take part in a transportation trivia quiz through Mentimeter.

Featured Presentation – Safety CIA Team. The featured presentation was delivered by Daniel Lisanti, Manager, and Jeevanjot Singh, Section Chief for the Bureau of Safety, Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs (BSBPP).

Mr. Lisanti noted that the Bureau comprises three units: the Office of Safety Program Management, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, and the Office of Complete Streets Implementation. The Bureau manages the federally-funded Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) for all roads in the State, manages the implementation of the 2020 New Jersey Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) for Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, and serves as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Complete Streets Implementation. The Bureau also manages technical projects that identify, inventory, review and analyze safety concerns along state and non-state roads, and suggest safety countermeasures, among other responsibilities.

Currently, the Bureau has 214 active HSIP projects in various stages of development. Mr. Lisanti gave an overview of the Bureau and the evolution of the programs over the past decade, explaining that HSIP funding increased and NJDOT shifted from funding low-cost, quick-fix maintenance projects to supporting larger scale capital improvement projects.

Mr. Lisanti reviewed the Bureau’s previous STIC-related accomplishments which include work on the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) initiative for EDC-4 and EDC-5 involving an action plan for pedestrian crossing countermeasures at uncontrolled locations, and systemic safety projects for midblock crosswalk safety improvements. For EDC-3, the Bureau used STIC funding to hold local safety peer exchanges to discuss Data Driven Safety Analysis and substantive safety and the systemic safety approach.  Related to the EDC-5 initiative Reducing Rural Roadway Departures, NJDOT held a three-day virtual training with FHWA and the FHWA Resource Center.

The Bureau has changed focus to consider why crashes happen, and to take steps to proactively address the risk of a crash. Projects include Horizontal Curve Safety Assessment which is nearing completion, Wrong Way Driving, and forthcoming safety assessments for School Zones and Intersections. Other areas of focus include Vegetation Safety Management and Midblock Crosswalk Improvements on NJDOT roadways.

Ms. Singh reviewed several improvements to the Safety Project Delivery Process to institutionalize safety in all of their projects. The Bureau is using condensed CD checklists in the limited scope process for the Horizontal Curve Sign Program and High Friction Surface Treatment to fast-track deployment. They have included Highway Safety Manual analysis and Complete Streets checklist activities to the Capital Project Delivery Process network diagram to ensure project managers are aware of requirements for HSIP projects. The Bureau is working with consultant selection teams for proposal reviews for HSIP projects to determine the best consultant team. The Bureau has developed a Post Deployment Evaluation process which incorporates three and half years of data. This process has been submitted to FHWA for approval. If approved, the process will be used for assessment of Center Line Rumble Strips, High Friction Surface Treatment, and Road Diets. Ms. Singh discussed the introduction of split funding and job order contracting for Safety Project Delivery using HSIP monies. The Bureau is diversifying their project portfolio and coordinating with NJDOT Maintenance on vegetation management, with Technology on wrong way driving warning systems, pedestrian detection systems, and Lead Pedestrian Intervals, and with Communications on Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and public outreach.

As previously noted, the Bureau is responsible for SHSP implementation. Ms. Singh noted a robust process that has engaged 200 stakeholders. She provided an update on progress on the original 35 priority actions and noted that 22 action items have been added for Year 2.

Finally, Ms. Singh made note of the Safety Resource Center (SRC), a one-stop centralized clearinghouse for transportation safety in NJ. The SRC disseminates information and connects multimodal transportation experts, public officials, academia, and the public to industry resources such as safety trainings, technical standards, guidance, plans, research, case studies, best practices, and technical assistance. In the future, the SRC will be responsible for the NJDOT SHSP plans and updates.

 Reminders and Updates. Ms. Chapman closed the meeting with information and reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

The NJ STIC Innovative Initiatives Survey has been distributed via email. Responses will be shared at a future STIC meeting and innovative initiatives will be featured through the NJDOT Technology Transfer program. The survey will help identify examples of implemented EDC initiatives and other innovative practices in New Jersey, and consider the challenges of implementing innovative practices. Please share the survey with your networks – the target audience is members of local public agencies, MPOs and other transportation professionals. Responses are due by September 30th. The survey can be found here.

Ms. Chapman announced the 2022 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition Winner – The Sawcut Vertical Curb. The Sawcut Vertical Curb method involves cutting a typical 4-inch curb to 2-inches to comply with updated standards for guard rail. The existing guide rail can remain in place while cutting the curb and the construction crew can remove and upgrade the guide rail later. This new method saves time, money, and improves the safety of both work crews and road users.

Ms. Gendek and Ms. Chapman submitted the Sawcut Vertical Curb as the first nomination to the annual AASHTO Innovative Initiatives competition earlier this month, and a winner will be selected by the end of the calendar year. The competition is for proven advancements in transportation technology and AASHTO is using the competition to accelerate adoption of innovations by agencies nationwide.

FHWA featured NJ STIC in the September/October issue of the Innovator publication. Using excerpts from our presentation at the National STIC meeting, the article mentions the STIC Communications Plan, piloting of the Let’s Go! Workshop, and more. You can read the full article at the link here.

Ms. Chapman reported that she attended the 2022 State Innovation Forum in San Diego, CA. The purpose of the forum was to exchange ideas with DOT Innovation peers, helping to shape the future of transportation innovation. Attendees also included AASHTO, TRB, and FHWA who were looking to gain insight into new tools and learn about the needs of the group.

The 2022 NJDOT Safety Summit will be held as a virtual event on October 11, from 10am-12pm. Go to saferoadsforallnj.com for more information.

STIC Incentive Program funds are still available for 2022 and more funds will be available soon for the coming year. The FHWA offers these funds, as well as technical assistance, to support the costs of standardizing innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJ STIC receives $100,000 each year. Ms. Chapman asked that the STIC network members communicate these grant opportunities through their networks. Local public agencies are eligible to apply. Find more information, including examples of allowable activities and prior recipients, here.

Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, and Mike Russo provided closing remarks.

A recording of the NJ STIC September 2022 meeting can be found here.

The Meeting Presentations can be found in its entirety here and or in sections below.

NJ STIC September 2022 Meeting Recording

Slide image reading: Welcome, Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner, NJDOT Planning, Multimodal & Grant AdministrationWelcome Remarks

Slide image reading: FHWA Updates, Helene Roberts, P.E., Innovation Coordinator & Performance Manager, FHWA, NJ Division OfficeFHWA EDC Innovation Updates

Slide image reading: CIA Team Safety NJDOT - Dan LiSanti, FHWA - Keith SkiltonCIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Feature Presentation: NJDOT Innovative Approach to Safety

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

NJDOT’s Commercial Vehicle Alerts Initiative Featured in National Operations for Excellence Webinar

Commercial vehicle safety-related alerts can notify drivers of major slowdowns from incidents and weather to inform decision-making. Source: Sblover99, Wikimedia

The National Operations Center for Excellence held a webinar featuring New Jersey and Colorado DOT initiatives to establish private sector partnerships that use crowdsourced data to deliver real-time information to commercial vehicles to improve the safety of all road users.  Transportation agencies can now deliver in-cab alerts about road conditions through connected truck service providers to help commercial vehicle drivers approach and react more quickly to roadway incidents, work zones, and adverse weather conditions.

For this event, the NJDOT’s Senior Director for Transportation Mobility, Sal Cowan, gave a presentation, “NJDOT Using Crowdsourced Data to Improve Road Safety:  Real Time Communications with Truck Drivers”.  He was joined in making this presentation by NJDOT's private sector partners for this initiative, Amy Lopez, Director, Public Sector Services and Smart City Strategy for INRIX, and Marc Nichols, Director, Government & Industry Partnerships for Drivewyze.

As traffic deaths rise, NJDOT wants to get more information into the hands of drivers about changing roadway conditions – the earlier the better – to inform their decision making in an effort to reduce crashes.  Summoning the key phrase, “Whatever It Takes”, Director Cowan framed the life-saving imperative behind NJDOT's willingness to make greater use of crowdsourcing and real-time data tools to reduce the risk of crashes.  He highlighted how commercial vehicle alerts can inform truck drivers of hazards on the road, such as sudden slowdowns, disabled vehicles, and debris before the truck is affected by the incident. The driver can seek an alternate route or pull over until the slowdown is cleared.

INRIX collects extensive traffic data for state transportation agencies. They provide two types of alerts: "curated" incidents are from multiple sources such as DOTs, Twitter feeds, Waze, police scanners and other sources that are managed by the INRIX incident team; and "calculated" incidents such as dangerous or sudden slowdowns that are mathematically calculated by INRIX and compare real time speeds with free flow speeds at specific segment locations to identify abnormal conditions. The INRIX system has the ability to deliver real-time data that detects and describes sudden slowdowns, closures, and queues by location for specific events. This data is passed on to Drivewyze to send out alerts.

Drivewyze, introduced as North America’s largest connected truck network, provides communication with some 2.8 million trucks via its Drivewyze application which is embedded in the electronic logging device (ELD) of the truck. Drivewyze takes data from INRIX and communicates it to commercial truck drivers. The system works with severity thresholds and trigger warnings so only events that exceed these thresholds are reported. Commercial drivers receive the messages through the ELD in their cab. The reported information can be customized to include notification of specific weather events, incidents, work zones, and bridge and road closures.

A "major winter storm alert" was distributed to several states in the Northeast and reached some 4,811 trucks at a critical time.

NJDOT plays a pivotal role in providing weather and detour related data. Through this partnership NJDOT can collect extensive data regarding issues and incidents that it otherwise could not directly obtain.  This allows the state to identify areas along key highways that produce issues and NJDOT can then begin to identify ways to resolve them. In addition to analysis, NJDOT can work proactively with is partners to prevent crashes.  During Winter Storm Kenan, NJDOT was able to send alerts out through Drivewyze to thousands of trucks across the Northeast to alert drivers to a major winter storm and hazardous road conditions and to take precautions.

The webinar, part of the FHWA's Adventures in Crowdsourcing Webinar Series, had two featured presentations on initiatives to address commercial vehicle safety through crowdsourcing.  The webinar explored lessons from New Jersey, Colorado and other states through presentations and information exchange with attendees from the FHWA, other state DOTs, and private sector partners.  To learn more about the New Jersey initiative and the capabilities of its private sector partners, check out the full presentation here, starting at the 29th minute.   The presentations given by the NJ team and other presenters can be downloaded here.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair

What is UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair?

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is a new material for bridge construction that has become popular for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements. Bridge preservation and repair (P&R) is an emerging and promising application for UHPC. UHPC-based repair solutions are robust, and offer superior strength, durability, and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods. State and local agencies can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions.

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) offers enhanced durability and improved life-cycle cost performance for bridge preservation and repair.

Keeping bridges in a state of good repair is essential to keeping the transportation system operating efficiently. Agencies at all levels can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions cost effectively.

Stronger Repairs, Extended Service Life

Because of its strength and durability, UHPC can be an optimum solution for some repairs. UHPC can be used in situations that normally use conventional concrete or repair mortars, and in some cases those that use structural steel. Some UHPC mixes gain strength rapidly, so bridges could be opened to traffic 24 hours after completing the necessary repairs. Additionally, UHPC repairs are long lasting and resilient, requiring less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs than conventional methods. In some cases, they can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts—UHPC repairs could be the strongest and most durable part of the bridge.

Benefits

Versatility. UHPC can generally be used anywhere other types of concrete would be used, and due to its strength and durability, it can be the optimum material for many applications.

Durability. UHPC-based repairs are long-lasting and require less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs.

Cost Savings. UHPC repairs can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts, resulting in life-cycle cost savings. UHPC bridge deck overlays and link slabs can extend the service life of bridges well beyond that of traditional preservation and repair strategies.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(December 2022)

Using UHPC. NJDOT completed construction of two bridge preservation projects in 2020. From its assessment of information on performance and usability from these pilot projects, which include four bridges using UHPC overlay, the agency considers further implementation promising. UHPC is excellent for preservation and is being considered for additional deployments. UHPC has been shown to increase service life but is currently more expensive than other methods. More widespread use/experience may reduce cost. The first UHPC link slab application is in the construction phase. Additional UHPC Link-Slab applications are currently in the Final Design Phase. 

Communicating UHPC Information on Bridge Preservation & Repair. The State participated in workshops, webinars, and peer exchanges related to UHPC for Bridge P&R, including:

  • NJDOT Hosted FHWA Workshop UHPC EDC-6 P&R
  • International Bridge Conference Poster Session
  • NYSDOT UHPC Link-slab Peer Exchange 2022
  • ABC December 2022 presentation and paper
  • NJ STIC Meeting, 4th Quarter 2022

What’s Next?

The Future of UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair (P&R). The agency anticipates incorporating UHPC for bridge preservation and repair in its new design manual, using data collected from the current pilots and will further investigate performance and examine life cycle costs. NJDOT will use these indicators to determine future usage and applicability with additional research through the Bridge Research Program.

Industry experience in UHPC applications is not keeping up with agency goals. UHPC is not yet standardized for operational use which leads to a lack of consistency in the applied product, a lack of UHPC repair materials and methods, and significantly higher initial cost. Material and labor for UHPC are currently more expensive than traditional bridge preservation techniques. UHPC is used for repair projects that were not pre-planned; contractors may not have the experience or comfort with using the material. The material can be difficult to work with, and contractors need training.

However, the extension in bridge life span may result in a good return on investment. The programming/funding authority may need to address the issue of allowing UHPC higher costs into a project budget.

Further research and a possible pooled fund project would be beneficial to increase knowledge.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

Presentation: Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT

Presentation: Design, Construction, and Evaluation of UHPC Bridge Deck Overlays for NJDOT

NJDOT recently installed UHPC Bridge Deck overlays on four bridges. NJDOT engineers explained the rationale for UHPC and highlighted key lessons in bridge selection, existing ...
UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

The FHWA's EDC Newsletter of April 28th highlighted a project to test UHPC bridge preservation materials, in partnership with Rutgers University Below is a reprint ...
Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

How the emerging innovation of Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is being implemented in New Jersey. ...
Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured how NJDOT has applied UHPC for bridge preservation and repair. ...
EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

The EDC-4 Final Report highlights the results of round four of the Every Day Counts program to rapidly deploy proven innovations to enhance the transportation ...

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)

What is Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)?

Solutions for integrating innovative overlay procedures into practices that can improve performance, lessen traffic impacts, and reduce the cost of pavement ownership.

Approximately half of all infrastructure dollars are invested in pavements, and more than half of that investment is in overlays. By enhancing overlay performance, state and local highway agencies can maximize this investment and help ensure safer, longer-lasting roadways for the traveling public.

Improved Pavements that Last Longer

Many of the pavements in the nation's highway system have reached or are approaching the end of their design life. These roadways still carry daily traffic that often far exceeds their initial design criteria. Overlays are now available for both asphalt and concrete pavements that enable agencies to provide long-life performance under a wide range of traffic, environmental, and existing pavement conditions.

Concrete overlays now benefit from performance-engineered mixtures, including thinner-bonded and unbonded overlays with fiber reinforcement, interlayer materials, and new design procedures that improve durability and performance. Asphalt overlay mixtures have also advanced significantly with the use of stone-matrix asphalt (SMA), polymer-modified asphalt (PMA), and other materials and agents that reduce rutting, increase cracking resistance, and extend pavement life.

Benefits

Safety. Thousands of miles of rural and urban pavements need structural enhancement and improved surface characteristics, such as smoothness, friction, and noise. Targeted overlay pavement solutions can improve the condition of highways significantly in a relatively short time.

Cost Savings. Timely and well-designed overlay applications are consistently cost-effective because less subsurface work is required. In urban areas, impacts to utilities and pedestrian facilities are minimized.

Performance. Targeting overlay solutions to high-maintenance areas such as intersections, bus lanes, ramps, and curved alignments can pay immediate dividends in terms of reduced maintenance needs, fewer work zones, and improved safety.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

TOPS in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEMONSTRATION
(December 2022)

New Jersey has been a leader in Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS). The following activities occurred in under previous EDC rounds:

High-Performance Thin Overlay (HPTO). NJDOT incorporated HPTO into its standard specifications and has used it for the preservation of good pavement and as the surface course on some composite pavement overlays. HPTO is also used by the Structural Design unit for bridge deck overlay.

Crack Attenuating Mixture. NJDOT incorporated this into its standard specifications and has used it for the intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays followed by SMA surface course.

Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA). NJDOT incorporated SMA into standard specifications and has used it for the surface course on high traffic pavement, for the surface course on some composite pavement overlays, and over top of BRIC mix as overlay of composite pavements.

Asphalt Rubber Gap-Graded (ARGG). NJDOT incorporated ARGG into its standard specifications and has used it for the surface and/or intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays.

Open-Graded Friction Course (OGFC). NJDOT incorporated OGFC into its standard specifications and has used it for full depth porous asphalt pavements in outside shoulders, parking lots, pathways, sidewalks and other low traffic pavements.

Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course (UTBWC) / Ultra-Thin Friction Course (UTFC). NJDOT incorporated UTFC into its standard specifications and used it for preservation of good pavement and for the surface course on some resurfacing pavement overlays.

What’s Next?

The Rt.42 Pavement Preservation project, using Ultra-HPTO / Highly Modified Asphalt (HiMA), is in construction. The Department plans to monitor closely and analyze the pros and cons of utilizing this type of asphalt mixture on NJ concrete pavements.

NJDOT Pavement Management unit procured new skid testing equipment in 2022. Skid testing was done for 9 projects by NJDOT Pavement Management unit on High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST)sections. Skid testing by the NJDOT Pavement Management unit on high friction surface treatment sections and alternative enhanced friction overlay (EFO) sections will continue using the new equipment.  There are plans to test, analyze, and monitor skid test results to advise the department on future development and use of enhanced friction overlay treatments. The Department is also working with an academic partner to perform companion testing of these friction test sections with a Dynamic Friction Tester (DFT) unit.

Ultra High Performance Thin Overlay is included in one project (UPC 213090). Specification is finalized and the item number has been created.

Compilation and analysis of all data on the different Enhanced Friction overlay surfaces, will lead to better information for NJDOT staff and others on the recommended use and practices with EFOs. Skid test equipment function and calibration are critical to collecting and analyzing the data. Other test methods will be explored.

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS): NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured NJDOT's use of HPTO as a cost-effective pavement preservation tool. ...
Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Dr. Thomas Bennert, who leads the Pavement Support Program (PSP), discussed how the group's research supports NJDOT's efforts to improve pavements across the state. ...
Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

This video features the work that the NJDOT Pavement and Drainage Management and Technology Unit is doing to advance Pavement Preservation treatments on state roads to increase ...
Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Pavement preservation is just one example among many of how NJDOT is committed to keeping New Jersey’s roadways in a state of good repair and ...
Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

A recent study found that pavement preservation techniques can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to savings for both transportation agencies and drivers. ...

Strategic Workforce Development

What is Strategic Workforce Development?

The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. To attract and retain workers in the contractors' workforce, new resources are available to help compete with other industries and demonstrate the value of a career in transportation.

An Industry and Public Workforce Collaboration

Government agencies, trade organizations, private agencies, and communities nationwide need new, collaborative approaches to meeting this challenge. The nation depends on the highway system, and the highway system depends on qualified workers.

Additionally, increasing the contractors' construction workforce can help communities thrive while solving one of today's most persistent national transportation problems. It also offers an opportunity to recruit minorities and women to jobs that can change their lives, and the lives of their families, for the better.

Benefits
Effective Solutions. Advancing the lessons learned through the highway construction workforce pilot offers the transformational ideas and support needed to fill the gaps in the workforce.

Proven Training. Training programs, practices, and tools from across the country are available to help plan workforce development activities.

Flexibility. Free materials are available to support workforce marketing efforts. Posters, flyers, mailer cards, and social media graphics can be customized with local contact information.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

NJ Advances Strategic Workforce Development

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(December 2022)

New Jersey is utilizing diverse strategies to develop the state's transportation workforce:

Apprenticeship Program.  Has an operations apprenticeship program that is currently in the implementation stage. NJDOT has a one-year training program that includes testing as trainees move through the system.

Professional Programs. NJDOT has expanded outreach to draw attention to its professional series positions by partnering with high schools, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and the Department of Labor; working with under-represented communities of interest; expanding its social media presence; and building its pipeline and knowledge base that allows growth into the journeyman title.

What's Next? 

In September 2021, NJDOT participated in an FHWA pilot, Let’s Go! Workshop. In this 2-day workshop, NJDOT participants developed a Mission Statement – “To create career opportunities for a diverse workforce in terms of disciplines, demographics, and career levels in order to meet the demands of the transportation skills of tomorrow".  The workshop participants defined a set of priority actions, including:  Industry Association Outreach; Goal, Measures, Timeline, Buy-In; Regular Meetings and Follow-up Actions; and College/University Outreach.

Since then, NJDOT has continued to seek partnerships with national and local organizations to support hiring efforts and to acquire best practice information. The NJDOT Civil Rights programs has sought to perform outreach in underserved communities and pursue a NJDOT leadership training effort. NJDOT is also exploring potential development of a training program for construction inspection/maintenance.

During this period, interviews were conducted with HR staff about early stages of institutionalizing an apprenticeship program. Engagement activities were held to facilitate connections with Industry Association and Higher Education Institutions (e.g., Union, Workforce Development Boards and County College).

The Strategic Workforce Development Working Group convened to formulate a Department-Wide Mentorship Program; identify Emerging Skillset needs with Partners; and continue Industry Association and College/University Outreach activities.  Research into best practices for identifying emerging skillsets and incorporating these considerations into mentoring programs could assist the advancement of this initiative.

Strategic Workforce Development: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Strategic Workforce Development Online Recordings & Presentations

Strategic Workforce Development Online Recordings & Presentations

Strategic Workforce Development is one of FHWA’s seven initiatives promoted through the sixth round of the Every Day Counts (EDC) program. Key emphasis is made ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: <strong>NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program</strong>

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: NJDOT’s Youth Corps Urban Gateway Enhancement Program

We interviewed Chrystal Section, Supervisor of the Non-Discrimination Programs Unit in the NJDOT’s Division of Civil Rights and Affirmative Action, about the department's efforts to ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

We spoke with representatives from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) to explore their roles and partnership in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

We spoke with Kelly Hutchinson, Director, Human Resources at NJDOT about ongoing and planned workforce development initiatives at NJDOT. ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

We spoke with Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825. The organization collaborates with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

We spoke with Nick Toth, Director, New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development to learn about the State’s role in ...